Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

App will anonymously tell bullies, boors and blowhards the error of their ways

App's developer based in Winnipeg

  • Print

Boring someone to death isn't a crime. Nor are answering your cellphone during dinner, chronic lateness, blaming others for your mistakes, swearing like a sailor, gossiping and burping in public.

What these behaviours are, at least by polite-society standards, are ill-mannered, inconsiderate and annoying.

Who hasn't fantasized about walking up to the office blowhard, the lunchroom slob, or a socially clueless co-worker, getting in their face and declaring, "You're so rude!"

Well, thanks to Winnipeg-based Civility Experts Worldwide, there's now an app for that.

Free to download from iTunes, the You're So Rude app allows users to send a relatively gentle and anonymous message to the email of someone who has committed any of a long list of disrespectful behaviours and social faux pas.

Like the website ( says, rather than engage in potentially messy or angry conversations, fire up your smartphone or tablet and "Get the Etiquette Patrol to do the talking for you."

It might sound like another example of people hiding behind technology instead of communicating openly, or even a form of cyber-bullying, but the intention is more about raising awareness than pointing fingers, says the app's creator.

"The app is designed to be as constructive as possible. The messages aren't overly aggressive and there's no angry tone involved," says Lew Bayer, president of Civility Experts Worldwide, which has 34 affiliate offices in 12 countries.

"Also, our research shows that only one in four people will actually tell someone they're being disrespectful or inappropriate," she says, "and most of the time, that conversation happens when the recipient of the rudeness has had enough or is angry and so what should be a respectful communication turns into a conflict with hurt feelings and mistrust."

Users can choose from a drop-down list of intros designed to soften the sting. For instance, if you wanted to let someone know they have poor hygiene, or are acting like a victim, you could preface the message with "We don't want to hurt your feelings but you should know that..." or "Your mother would want us to let you know that..."

In the past four years leading up to the development of the app, Bayer says, Civility Experts offered the same service through its website for $1 per message. The Etiquette Patrol manually issued around 400 of them each month, she says.

While the app features a long list of rude behaviours, Bayer sends the same 40 or 50 complaints seem to resurface again and again. The top three include being ignored by bosses or co-workers -- or someone whose partial attention is with their smartphone or computer -- foul language and lateness.

"Ever since I started teaching etiquette 15 years ago, lateness or disrespect for time have been at the top of every list we've ever done," Bayer says.

Rudeness is on the rise, especially in workplaces, she says, citing a Harvard Business Review study that polled thousands of workers over the past 14 years and found 98 per cent of them had experienced uncivil behaviour. In 2011, half of them said they were treated rudely at least once a week.

Bayer concedes that many people may not be aware they're committing a social faux pas or being inappropriate. That's why there are other drop-down menus on the app -- which is located in the educational category on iTunes -- that describe the result of the behaviour ("can damage your reputation"), offer a suggestion ("please consider changing your behaviour") and offer the recipient a "gift" -- etiquette e-books, tips, coupons for civility training courses, etc.

Incidentally, the Etiquette Patrol isn't strictly about outing bad behaviour. The "rude" app has a "polite" function where users can send messages -- same format -- to recognize individuals for their everyday acts of civility.

For more information, go to or

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2013 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Winnipeg police comment on two officers that resuscitated baby

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google